WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown to Award $1,128,250 to Winner

WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown to Award $1,128,250 to Winner

On Saturday, Day 1b of the World Poker Tour (WPT) $3,500 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown drew 1,155 entries, which along with Day 1a’s 1,135 brought the total field up to 2,290 entrants (beating 2022’s field of 2,010 runners). It also became the second-largest WPT event at the $3,500 buy-in level, second only to the same event back in 2021 (2,482 entries).

For their part, the Seminole Hard Rock hosted 17 satellites for the tournament, which ended up sending 192 players into the WPT Main Event.

The $3 million guarantee was obliterated as a $7,328,000 prize pool was created. That will be distributed to the top 287 finishers with the eventual winner taking home a $1,128,250 top prize.

Final Table Payouts

Place Prize POY Points
1 $1,128,250 1,400
2 $745,000 1,150
3 $550,000 900
4 $413,000 700
5 $312,000 550
6 $238,000 450
7 $183,000 375
8 $142,000 300
9 $111,500 250

Check out the WPT Hub on PokerNews here!

Seth Bags Big Stacks

Akash Seth
Akash Seth

After 10 levels of play, 387 players remained with Akash Seth and his stack of 730,500 leading the way, which was well ahead of Day 1a chip leader Anthony Spinella’s 473,000.

Seth got a nice boost in the last level of the night. With the blinds at 1,000/2,000/2,000, a preflop raising way saw two players all in for 80,000 and 160,000 respectively. One held ace-king, the other ace-jack, and both were at risk against Seth’s pocket kings. The board ran out clean and Seth vaulted over the 700K mark.

Others to punch their ticket to Day 2 were Nick Palma (456,000), AJ Kelsall (361,000), Conrad Simpson (346,500), Landon Tice (261,000), Nick Schulman (125,000), Cherish Andrews (83,000), Kathy Liebert (43,500), and Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi (36,000).

Natasha Mercier
Natasha Mercier

Likewise, Natasha Mercier advanced with 244,000. In Level 8 (600/1,200/1,200), Mercier raised to 2,500 under the gun and then called after a middle-position player three-bet to 7,500. When the flop fell J64, Mercier check-called a bet of 12,000 and then checked again on the 7 turn.

Her opponent jammed for roughly 70,000 and Mercier tanked for a bit before calling with the 1010. It was best as her opponent was drawing with the 98. The 6 river was safe for Mercier and she took down a nice pot.

Day 2 will begin on Sunday, April 30th at 12 p.m. EST and Day 3 will take place on Monday, May 1st at 12 p.m. EST with a plan to play down to 16 players. Day 4 is scheduled for Tuesday, May 2nd at 12 p.m. EST and will reach the final table, which will then be played at the Hyper X ESports Arena at the Luxor in Las Vegas, Nevada on May 25th.

*Images courtesy of WPT and Seminole Hard Rock.


  • The @WPT $3,500 @SHRHollyPoker Showdown attracted 2,290 entries and will award the winner $1,128,250!

Name Surname
Chad Holloway

Executive Editor U.S.

Executive Editor US, PokerNews Podcast co-host & 2013 WSOP Bracelet Winner.

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James Harden Caught Slapping Man Outside Vegas Casino

James Harden

Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden was caught on video slapping a man outside of a casino in Las Vegas.

The footage released by TMZ has no specific date, but is said to be from earlier this week. Harden and the Sixers have not played since Saturday, April 22, when they completed a sweep over the Brooklyn Nets in the first round of the NBA playoffs.

The identity of the man Harden slapped has not been confirmed, but is purportedly part of his entourage. The two appear to be locked in a verbal altercation before Harden extends his arm to slap him. 

Harden and the man later entered the casino together.

Las Vegas police confirmed that there have not been any incident reports filed against Harden, and witnesses say that Harden and the man later entered the casino together.

Fans on social media questioned why Harden was in Las Vegas during the postseason in the first place: 

Harden has a well-known history as a lover of the nightlife. He previously admitted to traveling and playing on little sleep after excursions across the country.  

Harden will be a key piece in the 76ers’ upcoming series against the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Presumptive MVP Joel Embiid will play, but will be less than 100% because of a knee injury, and the Celtics are the favorites to win the title (+160 on FanDuel sportsbook).

The 76ers went 1-3 against the Celtics with Harden in the lineup this season. He averaged 25.5 points, 9.0 assists, and 5.5 rebounds in those games.

The 76ers are +250 underdogs to win the series.

The post James Harden Caught Slapping Man Outside Vegas Casino appeared first on VegasSlotsOnline News.

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VSO Analysis: Are US Gaming Execs Right to Be Pessimistic Despite Record Momentum?

Hard times ahead sign

Execs have their say

A recent American Gaming Association (AGA) survey revealed that while the US gambling sector may be going through a period of unparalleled growth, executives are very doubtful that the good times will continue to get better.

just 20% expect conditions to get better in the future

In a survey of US gaming executives compiled in partnership with Fitch Ratings, 62% of respondents said they consider the current business climate to be a good one. However, more telling was the fact that just 20% expect conditions to get better in the near future. Around two-thirds of respondents believe conditions will remain the same.

Commenting last year, Jefferies gaming analyst David Katz said an earnings meeting with casino management teams in Las Vegas provided “evidence of the dichotomy between the current operating strength and the markets’ expectation of a recession.” He noted that the major casino operators mulled the possibility of revisiting costs in anticipation of a slowdown in demand.

To assess whether these concerns are justified, it is important to take a look at the current situation and past examples of similar conditions.

The challenges to growth

Of course, the pessimism of US gaming execs is not baseless. There are a number of challenges now facing the industry.

The first issue is rising interest rates and inflation, cited by 69% of respondents as the top challenge facing the industry. Falling within the same category, this concern was followed by economic uncertainty at 38%. This has led to rising cost of living prices for the US public, including the cost of basic necessities such as food and gas.

This is a very real problem in the US currently. In fact, last year TD Securities predicted that the chance of a 2023 recession in the country was as high as 50%. The latest US economic data suggests that this recession is on the way, with CNBC reporting that investors need to prepare for a difficult period in the stock market.

Also making the list of top US gaming industry concerns is geopolitical risk. At the moment, this is mainly related to the war in Ukraine, which has, if not caused, certainly worsened the cost-of-living crisis for many countries across the globe. With the war now more than one year on and giving no sign of abating, the peaceful course of international relations remains up in the air.

The fact that 2024 is an election year in the US is only destabilizing the situation more. The contest for the highest office in the nation will take place in November, and the winner’s policy on the issues already mentioned will have a significant impact on the performance of all US businesses.

Warning signs

First things first when considering the validity of the above concerns, are there currently any signs of these challenges having a detrimental impact on US gaming? After all, each of these issues is already a very real factor.

We have more millennial business than we’ve ever had”

MGM Resorts International CEO Bill Hornbuckle gave us some insight into his view on the current situation towards the end of last year. Speaking during CNBC’s Evolve Global Summit, the exec said that even though he eventually expects it to have an impact on gaming revenue, the rising cost of living “hasn’t yet.” In fact, Hornbuckle actually expressed optimism over the growing number of younger gamblers. “We have more millennial business than we’ve ever had by 20%,” the chief executive affirmed.

AGA data certainly supports Hornbuckle’s claims to date. In 2022, US gaming hit new heights, recording $60bn in revenue for the full-year, up 34% from 2021. This has continued into 2023 too, with US gaming economic activity growing by more than 8% over the past three quarters. “Simply put, American adults are choosing casino gaming for entertainment in record numbers,” AGA CEO Bill Miller said this year.

This growth can be seen on a state-by-state level too. Only this week, Nevada reported a new quarterly high for gaming revenue, hitting $3.82bn in Q1. March marked the 25th consecutive month of $1bn+ revenue in the gambling hub. In the same month, Pennsylvania exceeded $500m in gaming revenue for the first time ever, while revenue grew 15% year-on-year in New Jersey.  

Evidently, according to this data, the challenges facing the gaming industry are not yet preventing its current growth.

Learning from the past

The sector appears to be snowballing in the correct direction, but with experts anticipating a recession could well be on the way, what can we learn from the past to inform us on how the sector might handle this?

The last real economic recession took place between 2007 and 2009, in which time Nevada gaming revenue saw its growth stunted. In 2007, gaming revenue hit $12.8bn, up around 2% from the prior year. However, 2008 brought a steep drop off in gaming revenue at 10%, down to $11.6bn. Then, 2009 saw the worst decline in Nevada history pre-COVID at just over 10%.

Similarly, on a nationwide level, casinos saw a downturn in business during the last recession, although not as dramatic as Nevada specifically. According to data from the University of Nevada, overall US casino revenue dropped around 3% in 2008 before declining another 5% the following year. After this, US gaming revenue gradually increased until the pandemic.

the industry is not immune to an economic downturn

There has also been plenty of research into the effects of recessions on casino gambling, with most studies determining that the industry is not immune to an economic downturn, despite what may have been previously believed.

For instance, the Journal of Gambling Studies assessed data on US per capita gambling consumption between 1959 and 2010. It found that the industry grows during times of economic uptick and experiences no growth during recessions. Lottery, however, seemed to be exempt from this, which saw gambling levels actually increase in times of financial hardship.

Pessimism warranted

For US gaming execs then, it seems that there are reasons to be cautious about what may lie on the horizon. The multitude of challenges facing the industry currently have not had a negative impact on its growth to date. However, a recession is a new level of problem entirely, and one that we have learned the sector can not escape.

the global gaming industry is a strong and adaptable sector

Despite this, it is also important to note that the global gaming industry is a strong and adaptable sector. It survived, and even thrived, during a time of complete global chaos during the COVID pandemic. Now, facing a new challenge, its executives can take heart from that evidence of their own resilience.

The post VSO Analysis: Are US Gaming Execs Right to Be Pessimistic Despite Record Momentum? appeared first on VegasSlotsOnline News.

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Regan “VapersieO11” Standing Talks About His ONSCOOP Triple Crown

Regan "VapersieO11" Standing Talks About His ONSCOOP Triple Crown

This month’s ONSCOOP was a landmark series for poker players in Ontario. For the first time, PokerStars Ontario was able to bring the Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) format exclusively to the province’s still-nascent poker market.

The segregated player pool meant smaller fields than the usual SCOOP extravaganza. This in turn allowed individual players to shine, with a handful of stand-outs winning multiple events and appearing at multiple final tables. One of these notable players was Regan “VapersieO11” Standing, who PokerNews spoke to recently about his ONSCOOP success.

The ONSCOOP Hat Trick

During the 2023 ONSCOOP, Standing won three events—the $100 Brawl, the $50 PLO Hi-Lo Championship, and the $20 4-Handed Zoom event. He also managed a fourth place cash in the $500 Super High Roller (all dollar amounts in this article are Canadian)

In total, he cashed for just under $12k on an investment of around $3k.

He stated that he qualified for the SHR event via satellite “for just 30 bucks” and won around $3,200.

“ONSCOOP was great,” Standing said of the series. “I was on a downswing for the last hundred tournaments or so and came back playing for blood, crushing three wins and two trophies. I have been very fortunate running well in the marquee events, but you still got to take that big stack all the way to first place.”

Click here to join “VapersieO11” on PokerStars Ontario

Playing for first

Standing’s dayjob is operating the pre-heater tower at a cement plant, a job he describes as “pretty intense.” However, the long shifts come with a shorter work week.

Regan “VapersieO11” Standing

“My usual poker schedule is play touneys and cash games three days a week,” Standing explains. “I work in twelve-hour shifts, so I have a lot of days off. That’s great for a poker wannabe.”

He also found that Ontario’s shift to a segregated player pool works much better for him, creating smaller fields and shorter tournaments.

“The duration of the tournaments on Pokerstars Ontario is around six hours. That’s great for me because I can play my best the entire time,” he said. “On global Pokerstars, the big tourneys were ten or twelve hours and I would always just end up getting tired and punting.

“Plus Pokerstars Ontario is way softer than global!”

From blind baseball to ONSCOOP champion

At a young age, Standing learned to play poker with his father, stepmother, and sister. “We played a variation of stud called blind baseball. When I was 19 the WPT came out and I started playing tournaments at the pool hall in my town back in 2003.

“We also played sit-n-gos on family holidays with my mom and sister. My mom’s nickname was ‘Queen-Two.’ Just a funny family thing, because she always thought queen two was a great hand!”

From those kitchen table beginnings, Standing has risen to be one of Ontario’s recognizable tournament grinders.

“My favorite win of all was back in October,” Standing said. “It was during ONCOOP. I won the $200 5-card PLO event for $3,600. It was my favorite event because it was mainly against all the best pros in Ontario. I had a three-hour three-handed battle with “WALMARTCNXN” [who was also a multiple ONSCOOP event winner this year].”

That competitive attitude has served Standing well, earning him a tidy profit this spring and setting him up for bigger and better things.

Players Win Big in PokerStars Ontario’s Inaugural ONSCOOP

What’s next for “VapersieO11”?

Standing’s future plans are those of a sensible online grinder. He still has dreams of one day going pro. “Hopefully one day I can get a bankroll big enough to play consistently for a big hourly rate.”

“I cashed out a bunch of the winnings, jeeping a healthy bankroll to play with,” he said. “My plan for poker going forward is continually studying and grinding the $50 limits and building my bankroll.”

Then he added, “But we’ll see—I just love poker. Oh, and please give a shout-out to my boy “Yawnkiss” battling in those PLO cash streets!”

We’ll no doubt be seeing plenty of “VapersieO11” out on those same Ontario streets.

For more on Standing, follow him on Twitter at @VapersieO11.

Eligible iGames conducted and managed by iGO are only available to those physically present in the Province of Ontario. PaokerStars Ontario operates pursuant to an agreement with iGaming Ontario.

For more information, visit the Ontario Players Homepage

Ontario iGaming

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Visit Hell In Yggdrasil’s New Slot: Devour The Weak

Visit Hell In Yggdrasil's New Slot: Devour The Weak

Following the recent collaboration with Bang Bang Games and the release of the hit Shadow Raiders MultiMax™, on April 27th, Yggdrasil, a Malta-based globally-recognized iGaming provider, released Devour the Weak, a hell-themed slot featuring the underground, aka hell, where many different demons and beasts reside.

A terrifying visual:

True to its name, the main theme of the slot is the underworld, demons and various ugly beasts that live in the underworld. The game takes place there and the background reels show lava flowing through red-hot rocks.

The rock music played throughout the spins completes the atmosphere of the game and this slot can be played on any device.

To win, players must form a combination of 3 or more matching symbols on adjacent reels, beginning from the leftmost reel on a dynamic 5×3 grid that offers 243 paylines. Furthermore, each win activates the Dropdown feature and the Avalanche mechanic, where each winning symbols is eliminated, together with each icon of equal or lesser value, further causing new ones to take their place and create new wins.

The basic low-value symbols are J, Q, K and A, while the high-values bonus symbols are monsters in blue, green, yellow and red. A combination of 5 low-value symbols is worth 0.3x to 1x, increasing to 1.5x to 2.5x a player’s bet for a combination of 5 high-value bonus symbols.

In addition, there are some extra symbols such as the Wild Symbol, aka the golden skull, and purple orbs may appear on the symbols during spins, meaning that symbols like these are hexed.

The game has super high volatility, a maximum win of up to 10000x a player’s bet and 4 different RTPs, with an RTP of 96% as the default. The others are: 94%, 90.5% and 86%.

Slot features:

Dropdown – when the player makes a winning combination, this feature is triggered as mentioned above. Furthermore, the Avalanche mechanic is present during this feature, with symbols that pay lower than the symbols that are part of the removed winning combination, also being removed from the reels.

The feature will last as long as the player makes new wins and as soon as it ends the total winnings are paid out.

Wild Symbol – the main task of Wilds is to make extra winning combinations by replacing other regular symbols.

Hexed Symbols – if the Hexed Symbol participates in the win, it converts into a Wild.

Multiplier – every symbol involved in the win will be collected into the multiplier meter located to the left of the reels. Each time the player collects 6 symbols, they will move to the next multiplier level, which begins at 1x.

Moreover, the current multiplier triggered by the player is added to the win obtained. However, if no additional winnings are made, the multiplier reverts back to 1x again and if the player is in the bonus game, the multiplier will revert to 6x instead.

Free Spins – if 6 or more Hexed Symbols are eliminated, this feature is triggered. As soon as it’s activated, the player automatically gets 10 free spins for these 6 eliminated Hexed symbols, with every extra one rewarding players with 1 additional free spin.

Throughout the bonus game, the 3 middle reels will have a purple frame and if Hexed Symbols appear in it, they will be directly transformed into Wilds.

What’s more, the player can also land +1 symbols on the fifth reel, which will further result that every such symbol awarding the player with 1 additional free spin.

Golden Bet – if the player pays an additional 50% of their bet, this feature is activated. Upon activation, it will reward the player with 1 collected Hexed Symbol on every spin.

In addition, it will also increase the player’s chances of landing Hexed Symbols.

Bonus Buy – if the player decides to purchase the Free Spins Bonus Game immediately, they may use this feature. There are two options available:

  • 100x – the player triggers the free spins round with a random number of free spins, which may be 10, 11, 12 or 13. The minimum multiplier is 6x;
  • 666x – the player triggers the free spins round also with a random number of free spins, which may be 14, 15, 16 or 17. The minimum multiplier is 33x.

Commenting on the launch, Stuart McCarthy, Head of Product & Programs at Yggdrasil, said: “This exciting new slot isn’t for the faint of heart, with a great theme featuring demonic characters that are beautifully crafted for an immersive experience.

“We can’t wait to see players devour low paying symbols and start racking up impressive wins via hexed icons, win multipliers and free spins.”

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ClubWPT Qualifiers Metti Saliu & Jon Batye Give It a Go in the WPT Poker Showdown

ClubWPT Qualifiers Metti Saliu & Jon Batye Give It a Go in the WPT Poker Showdown

The World Poker Tour (WPT) $3,500 Poker Showdown at Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood attracted more than 1,100 entrants on Saturday’s Day 1b, and two of the competitors in the field were ClubWPT qualifiers Metti Saliu and Jon Batye.

The night before, the WPT took the two qualifiers on a catamaran ride complete with drinks, and on Saturday they were ready to compete in not only one of the biggest tournaments of the year but also the biggest in their lives!

Batye on a Freeroll

Jon Batye
Jon Batye

For the 40-year-old Batye, a concrete worker from St. Louis, he signed up for ClubWPT on a free trial and it was during that period he actually won his $5,500 package to the Seminole Hard Rock. Talk about a freeroll.

It was Batye’s first time traveling for a poker tournament, and he was understandably excited. Early on Day 1b, he was up about 10,000 on the first break of the day. That was thanks in large part to a big pot where he flopped an open-ended straight draw with jack-ten and ran a semi-bluff against a player holding ace-nine.

Batye failed to make his straight, but he did river a ten and went for value with a bet of 2,000. He extracted it too as his opponent made the call.

“Overall not too bad,” he said with a smile. Unfortunately for Batye, his luck crashed hard over the course of the next two levels and he busted shortly before the second break of the day.

ClubWPT ‘Stream Team’ Finally Gathers at Wynn in Las Vegas Post-COVID

From Milwaukee to Hollywood, Florida

Metti Saliu
Metti Saliu

As for the 46-year-old Saliu, who hails from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and works as an estimator, he has been playing on ClubWPT for years, especially after his local card room at Potawatomi Casino closed down during the pandemic. It was then that Saliu re-upped as a ClubWPT Diamond member.

He wound up taking down a winner-take-all satellite to win his way to Florida. It was redemption for Saliu as he had played the same tournament the year before only to finish in second place.

Saliu has been playing poker for approximately 11 years after picking it up from his father and brother, both of who learned to play during the Moneymaker “Boom” years.

“I was hooked,” Saliu admitted. He then shared something interesting – the night before the tournament he had a bad dream that he picked up pocket aces in the first hand and went bust.

As fate would have it, he actually looked down at pocket aces in the very first hand of the tournament! In an attempt to dispel the premonition, he opted to just limp from the small blind and didn’t go bust, instead winning a small pot. Even so, it was a little too close for comfort.

Eventually, Saliu became comfortable in the tournament and by the time Level 5 began he was sitting with 67,000 in chips. That is when PokerNews opted to spend an entire orbit watching him play. Here is what we observed.

In a Poker World Gone Mad, the World Poker Tour (WPT) is Proving Itself Righteous

An Orbit with Metti Saliu

Level 5 with the blinds at 300/600/600…

Hand #1 (Button): Action folded to Saliu and he just called. The player in the small blind did the same before the big blind checked their option to make it three-way action to the flop of 1023.

The small blind checked, the big bet 800, and only Saliu called to see the 5 turn. The big blind checked and Saliu tossed out 1,300. That did the trick as his opponent folded.

“I owe you that one,” Saliu told his opponent before showing the 55 for a turned set.

Hand #2 (Cutoff): Action folded to Saliu and he did the same.

Hand #3 (Hijack): Action folded to Saliu and he released.

Hand #4: (Middle Position): Action folded to Saliu and he let it go.

Hand #5 (Middle Position): A player in early position limped and Saliu folded.

Hand #6 (Early Position): Saliu folded.

Hand #7 (Under the Gun): Saliu limped and the player in the cutoff min-raised to 1,200. The button called, both blinds folded, and Saliu called to see a flop of 8K8. All three players checked and the 10 appeared on the turn.

Two more checks saw the player on the button bet 2,000 and only Saliu called. When the 7 completed the board on the river, Saliu checked, and the button bet 3,000. Saliu called and said, “I have a flush.”

He then tabled the KJ for two pair that turned into a runner-runner spade flush and his opponent mucked.

Hand #8 (Big Blind): A player in early position limped and the next player raised to 1,200. The small blind called and Saliu did the same from the big. The limper came along and it was four-way action to the flop of 6JJ.

Everyone checked as they did on both the J turn and 2 river. Saliu showed the A8 but he was pipped as another player won the pot with A9.

Hand #9 (Small Blind): Both the under-the-gun player and the cutoff limped before Saliu folded from the small blind.

Metti Saliu
Metti Saliu

In With Aces, Out With Aces

Saliu made the most of the orbit by increasing his stack to roughly 75,000. He’d use that to grind out a good portion of the day, but like his fellow ClubWPT qualifier, lady luck turned against Saliu and he bowed out shortly before the last break of the night.

Ironically, it happened when he was holding pocket aces. With a player already all in preflop, Saliu and another player were engaged in a side pot. The latter just jammed with a diamond flush draw on an ace-high flop, and Saliu called off with top set. The turn was safe but the river was not as another diamond appeared. For Saliu, his day was in with aces, out with aces.

While they failed to find a bag, the night wasn’t a total loss for the pair as both Batye and Saliu made their way to the WPT Poker Showdown Player Party that evening to rub elbows with some poker luminaries and tell a bad beat tale or two.

Learn More About the Subscription-Based ClubWPT here!

Did You Know the World Poker Tour is Online?


The launch of WPT Global means that poker players around the world now have the chance to win their way to WPT events, win prizes and enjoy exciting games such as Poker Flips. As one of the world’s largest cash game poker networks, WPT Global is available in over 50 countries and territories around the world.

WPT Global offers a large deposit match bonus: 100% on deposits up to $1,200 (using any payment method). New players depositing a minimum of $20 automatically receive this match bonus which is unlocked in $5 increments (credited straight to the cashier) for every $20 of rake contribution.

Both tournaments and cash games count towards bonus unlocking; new players have 90 days from the date of first deposit to unlock and claim their full bonus amount.

*Images courtesy of WPT/Drew Amato.

Name Surname
Chad Holloway

Executive Editor U.S.

Executive Editor US, PokerNews Podcast co-host & 2013 WSOP Bracelet Winner.

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In a Poker World Gone Mad, the World Poker Tour (WPT) is Proving Itself Righteous

In a Poker World Gone Mad, the World Poker Tour (WPT) is Proving Itself Righteous

Controversy. Drama. Cheating. Grudge Matches. There’s no denying such stories get clicks, but at what point does it become detrimental and tiresome? For many, that point came earlier this week with the High Stakes Poker Live Stream, which prominently featured players like Doug Polk, Nik Airball, Matt Berkey, and Eric Persson, all players who are often knee-deep in the poker muck.

As the cackles echoed throughout the PokerGO Studio and into homes across the world for all those watching, I was down at the Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood, which was playing host to the World Poker Tour (WPT) Poker Showdown.

That night there was a Charity Series of Poker (CSOP) event raising money for Make-A-Wish Southern Florida, while a week before WPT Ambassadors Andrew Neeme and Brad Owen hosted a meet-up game. It was there that Owen made a dream come true when he bought 20-year-old Cody Peacock into the game, a story reported by Jeff Walsh that you must read over at worldpokertour.com.

On Friday night, I also got invited on a special catamaran excursion with the WPT family, who were taking out a pair of ClubWPT qualifiers – Metti Saliu and Jon Batye. While heading out into the open seas, it suddenly struck me just how much good the WPT is doing for the poker community.

Check out the WPT Hub on PokerNews here!

Emphasis on Players

Jon Batye and Metti Saliu
ClubWPT qualifiers Jon Batye and Metti Saliu.

There were quite literally 10 members of the WPT team on the trip with the sole goal of making sure the qualifiers had an experience, which I can tell you they did. Both were throwing back drinks as the catamaran sailed through the harbor and out into the ocean. Batye was embracing the spotlight and calling himself “the talent,” which was a role for which he was made. Saliu was a bit more reserved but didn’t shy away from chatting with everyone.

I was witnessing firsthand the effort the WPT has long put into the player experience, not just on the tournament macro level, but on the micro levels as well by providing such experiences to those who are playing the WPT for the first and quite possibly only time. It was a smaller dose of what the poker world saw on full display last December at the WPT World Championship at the Wynn, which rightfully won “Event of the Year” at the Global Poker Awards.

A Family Affair

WPT Family
The WPT family with the ClubWPT qualifiers.

Those buzzwords I mentioned above – Controversy. Drama. Cheating. Grudge Matches – when was the last time you associated them with the WPT? Similarly, when was the last time any of the WPT talent was embroiled in a scandal? Neeme and Owen aren’t out picking fights or calling out players. Vince Van Patten and Tony Dunst follow in the footsteps of the late Mike Sexton, who set the bar high on being kind and professional in the poker world. And Lynn Gilmartin, who I had the pleasure of working with for several years at PokerNews, is quite literally one of the nicest people I’ve ever met.

I can also tell you from experience that the people working behind the scenes are just as kind and professional. Lance Bradley, Jeff Walsh, and Tim Fiorvanti are magic on the content team, while Eric Lusch and Easton Oreman are a pleasure to work with on the media side of things. When on-site, Hilary St. Clair, Sam Carioti, and many others help cultivate a top-notch player experience, while the team reporters (shout out to Mickey Doft, BJ Nemeth, and Al Rash), photographers, and production staff make the wheels go around.

Brad Owen
WPT ambassador Brad Owen doing his thing.

For his part, WPT tournaments are always run by experienced staff often led by Matt Savage, who in my opinion is overdue for the Poker Hall of Fame, and of course, it all stems from WPT President Adam Pliska, who has always put an emphasis on family.

Let’s face it, if those making headlines these days were a family, they’d be the Lohan’s, whereas those on the WPT are the Partridge Family. The former can be entertaining — who doesn’t like a good train wreck after all — but the latter should serve as an inspiration.

I’m sure this all came across as a fluff piece for the WPT, but even if it did, it’s well-deserved. All I can say is that I didn’t have to write this, but rather felt inspired to do so. Like many, I am discontent with a lot of what’s happening in the poker world, much of which I have to highlight and push given my role. While I’m guilty of perpetuating the negative narratives, I don’t want it to stop me from giving credit, love, and a spotlight to the good things in poker.

The WPT is most certainly one of them.

*Images courtesy of WPT and Seminole Hard Rock.

Name Surname
Chad Holloway

Executive Editor U.S.

Executive Editor US, PokerNews Podcast co-host & 2013 WSOP Bracelet Winner.

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This post is syndicated by the Las Vegas Advisor for the 888 casino group. Anthony Curtis comments on the 888 article introduced and linked to on this page.

AC says: There are ways to beat roulette, e.g., exploiting biased wheels or applying physics in what’s referred to as prediction, but playing hot or cold numbers isn’t one of them. To be fair, the author cautions several times that hot- and-cold-number strategies can blow up in your face, but he never comes out and debunks them. On the contrary, while no specific claims are made, the tone of the article is that this might be a winning strategy. It’s not. If you’re a systems player who doesn’t mind playing a negative-expectation game, playing hot or cold numbers won’t make things any worse than betting randomly, so there’s no real harm done. Just be aware that your expectation on every bet on a double-zero wheel is -5.26%. A better strategy is to find a wheel (for the same stakes) with a single zero to cut the edge to -2.7%. Better yet, play with a 2-1 matchplay coupon.

This article was written by Stephen R. Tabone in association with 888Casino.

Can understanding hot and cold roulette numbers improve your chances of winning?

Roulette is a game of chance, but we are always on the lookout for strategies to improve our odds of winning. One of the most popular roulette strategies is based on hot and cold numbers. But will understanding and implementing it improve our chances of winning?

In this article, I will explain what hot and cold numbers are, and whether betting on them can really help you win at roulette. I will also introduce a new roulette betting strategy that focuses on warm zone roulette numbers, which may increase your chances of winning.

Click to continue reading …


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A “Small” Fire Breaks Out at Horseshoe Las Vegas, Home of World Series of Poker (WSOP)

A “Small” Fire Breaks Out at Horseshoe Las Vegas, Home of World Series of Poker (WSOP)

There was quite the scene at Horseshoe Las Vegas on Friday night as a “small” fire broke out at the home of the World Series of Poker (WSOP).

According to local news reports, a fire broke out on the 19th floor of the Horseshoe Las Vegas hotel that caused part of the Las Vegas Strip to shut down as firefighters contained the blaze. In fact, it was reported that 20 fire vehicles and engines, as well as 76 fire personnel, responded to the scene.

“Sprinklers were activated which kept the fire contained to a small area, and crews extinguished the remainder of the burning material,” Clark County Fire Deputy Chief Billy Samuels stated in a news release.

Horseshoe Las Vegas Opens Newly Renovated Poker Room

While some people requested medical attention at the scene, no serious injuries were reported, and thankfully no one needed to go to the hospital.

“The cause of the fire is under investigation, and no dollar loss amount has been determined,” Samuels added.

It was a scary situation, however, as the property has experienced a major fire disaster in the past. Back in 1980, when the venue was MGM Grand, it was the site of the deadliest fire in Las Vegas history as 85 victims lost their lives.

Mattress Mack, Doyle Brunson, Jack Binion Speak at Horseshoe Las Vegas Grand Opening

*Images from KTNV.

It Wasn’t Hellmuth

Back in 2021, 16-time bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth was at a WSOP final table when he lost a big hand and had a patented meltdown when he controversially said, “I think I’m gonna burn this f***ing place down if I don’t win this f***ing tournament.”

So, is it possible the “Poker Brat” actually followed through?

The answer is unequivocally no as he was at Hustler Casino Live (HCL) in California losing two buy-ins, while the fire took place at Horseshoe Las Vegas, not the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino where Hellmuth previously made his “threat.”

Still, probably best not to say such things in the future.

Name Surname
Chad Holloway

Executive Editor U.S.

Executive Editor US, PokerNews Podcast co-host & 2013 WSOP Bracelet Winner.

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Entain Has Paid a Fine for Accepting In-Play Wagers

Entain Has Paid a Fine for Accepting In-Play Wagers

The Australian Financial Review (AFR), reports that the sports wagering giant Entain has paid the $13,320 fine for accepting illegal bets during the LIV golf tournament. The fine for the violation of the Australian gambling law was imposed by Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

78 Illegal Bets Accepted:

While the LIV golf tournament was live, Entain’s online sports betting verticals Ladbroke and Neds illegally accepted 78 online bets.  As AFR reports, they thus violated the ”in-play” wagering rule prohibiting real-time wager placements when the sports event is live. Entain, the parent company of the two wagering operations, has paid $13,320 for the infringement, which is the maximum fine for in-play bets as prescribed by the Interactive Gambling Act 2001.

In-Play Betting:

The penalty imposed by Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) on the $16 billion UK-listed sports betting giant was reportedly the first notice issued for a breach of the “in-play” betting rule. But the fine also represents a continuation of a series of regulatory actions to involve Entain operations. The operator is currently expecting the outcome of the Australian anti-money laundering body’s investigation that may incur a $22 million penalty per infringement, as well as multiple regulatory actions.

Entain has already paid a $ 29 million fine to UK Gambling Commission for similar violations, according to the source. But in October 2022, Entain’s subsidiaries Ladbrokes and Neds accepted 78 online bets on the final day of the Bangkok LIV Golf tournament. As ACMA reportedly claims, these bets were placed during the game and represented in-play bets subject to legal sanctions.

Bets Voided:

Entain reverted to ACMA explaining that the company had mistakenly entered a discrepant start time of the final event into the wagering systems. It reportedly resulted in 59 wagers accepted through Ladbrokes and 19 through Neds’ services after the start of the event. According to the source, Entain realized the mistake three hours after the start of the game following a suggestion from a customer.

Robust Systems Required:

ACMA reportedly said that all bets were effectively voided. “Online in-play betting increases the risk for those people experiencing gambling harm as it provides fast outcomes and allows for a higher frequency of bets,” ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin reportedly said, and added that she was disappointed that a highly experienced operator like Entain did not have internal procedures in place to either prevent or discover the error.

AFR reports that O’Loughlin also said: “The ACMA made it clear to the industry last year that they must have robust systems in place to ensure that online in-play bets are not made available or accepted.”

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